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Stop Your Gout Attack In Its Tracks

When a gout attack strikes it's usually excruciatingly painful, leaving most sufferers willing to do almost anything to make the pain go away. Because for some people, even when they do their best to eat the right diet, and take all of the other precautions that are suggested by medical professionals, an attack can occur. There are a few things you can do right away to stop your gout attack from getting worse, and you may even be able to lessen the pain and shorten the length of the attack. It all depends on what you do when it happens.


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But some studies have found that a low purine gout diet has no effect on uric acid levels. Most likely one reason is because most uric acid in the body is made in the liver from purine molecules of DNA and RNA, and not from the purines in foods and beverages. Another reason may be that the problem for a gout sufferer is not that he/she is producing too much uric acid but that he/she is not excreting enough.

So in this diet there was moderate restriction of calories and carbohydrate, and control over proportional consumption of carbohydrate, protein and of fats. In the Zone diet the number of calories you get from food should be in the proportions of: from carbohydrates (40%), from protein (30%) and from fat (30%). This is one of the principles at the core of the diet. These proportions, or numbers close to them (getting more or less there is allowed) should be eaten at every meal and snack too. In the study, participants were asked to keep to these proportions at each meal, and they were encouraged to eat 3 to 5 meals and snacks daily, another Zone diet rule.

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This is the first of an article series about this diet. See the bottom of this article for how to read the second article. Natural gout treatment largely involves diet. The most widely touted gout diet for sufferers of "the disease of kings," is the low purine gout diet. The cause of gout theory behind it is that because uric acid is made from purines, and because uric acid is the gout culprit, purine intake from foods and beverages should be restricted.

Doctors advise a sensible weight loss plan in the attempt to lower uric acid levels. But take it slow. Crash dieting can actually increase the amount of uric acid produced by the body and bring about an attack.

Fats Saturated fats, which are among the fats found in meat fat, dairy products, beef tallow (beef dripping) and lard, were swapped for monounsaturated fats (e.g. olive oil, canola oil) and polyunsaturated fats, (oils such as corn, sunflower and soybean oils). However, in the study, participants took polyunsaturated fats from fish. They were advised to eat fish at least four times a week during the study, even fish that are high purine such as mackerel.

Urine test

Patients should be checked for the following medications before the urine test: diuretics, aspirin, pyrazinamide (Tebrazid), phenylbutazone, probenecid (Benemid), and allopurinol (Lopurin). If the patient needs to continue taking these medications, the laboratory should be notified.

Urine test

Reference values for 24-hour urinary uric acid vary from laboratory to laboratory but are generally found within the following range: 250-750 mg/24 hours.

Meat and Alcohol They also ate meat, no doubt lean meat since mono and polyunsaturated fats were encouraged. (Meat does contain both these fats, as well as saturated fats). Participants' alcohol consumption was moderate, there were no alcohol rules, and it remained the same as usual.

So we have to limit or avoid foods such as: organ meats, sweetbread. anchovies, herring, mackerel, red meat, poultry, shellfish, fish roe, scallops, asparagus, mushrooms, cauliflower, dairy foods, peas, lentils, and beans.

Definition

Uric acid tests are tests that are done to measure the levels of uric acid in blood serum or in urine.

Purpose



Complex carbohydrates are lower on the Glycemic Index (GI) scale than refined carbohydrates because they have a slower effect on blood glucose, and so the response of insulin to blood glucose is slower and more moderate. Insulin is much more responsive to refined and simple carbohydrates.

When you can bear to touch the affected area, combine juniper oil and olive oil and massage into the joints. Levels of uric acid in the blood can also be raised by stress, injuries, and aspirin.

The laboratory should also be notified if the patient has had recent x-ray tests requiring contrast dyes. These chemicals increase uric acid levels in urine and decrease them in blood.

If these natural remedies don't work or your wish to take a two-pronged approach, you can fight the pain and inflammation associated with a gout attack by taking a high dose of an anti inflammatory medication otherwise known as NSAID. These can be taken up to four times a day, but bear in mind that this may not be work for everyone. When you want to take this approach, talk with your doctor about the amount you should take, when you should take it, and how often. While NSAID's can help with inflammation and pain, you do want to be sure you are not taking too much or that you are simply not taking enough.

Description

The uric acid blood test is performed on a sample of the patient's blood, withdrawn from a vein into a vacuum tube. The procedure, which is called a venipuncture, takes about five minutes. The urine test requires the patient to collect all urine voided over a 24-hour period, with the exception of the very first specimen. The patient keeps the specimen container on ice or in the refrigerator during the collection period.

To examine whether a diet could affect the markers that show insulin resistance exists, and lower uric acid levels, researchers in South Africa put 13 males, all gout sufferers, on a diet governed by three cardinal rules of the Zone diet, the well-known diet book written in the 1990's by Barry Sears PhD.

Risks

Risks for the blood test are minimal, but may include slight bleeding from the puncture site, a small bruise or swelling in the area, or fainting or feeling lightheaded.

In a nutshell, excess uric acid is the culprit of your gout pain. You will discover seven easy things you can do to decrease the substance at a steady pace in this article. This practice will lower your susceptibility to gout attacks tremendously.



RULES Calories were restricted to 1,600 a day: 40% from carbohydrates, 30% from protein and 30% from mono and poly unsaturated fats.

5. Exercise is the fifth way to lower risk of gout attacks. Stretching exercises helps to strengthen the joints, and also increases your endurance and stamina. A sedentary lifestyle is not recommended for gout sufferers.

Foods that are recommended help to counteract the purines. These include cherries which contain flavonoid compounds that can lower uric acid and reduce inflammation.

Some other good choices are blueberries, strawberries, raw pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, raw foods like sprouts, wheat grass, and fresh salads. Also include more grains, fruits and vegetables instead of high protein foods.

What causes gout is very simply an over abundance of uric acid. So what you need to do to combat the symptoms is to get rid of the excess uric acid. There are 7 easy ways to do this.

There is another cause of gout theory, which is that excess uric acid (hyperuricemia) is the result of insulin resistance, the pre type 2 diabetes condition. Insulin resistance in gout has been the subject of many studies. Simply put, insulin resistance is the condition where the cells become more resistant to allowing insulin to deliver glucose (mainly broken down from carbohydrate in foods) to them, for the purpose of energy creation. It's as if the jailer refuses to open the door of the cell. It's one of the causes of excess insulin. Excess insulin has been found in a number of studies to inhibit uric acid excretion as well as causing other problems.

Uric acid is a waste product that results from the breakdown of purine, a nucleic acid. (Nucleic acids are the building blocks of DNA.) Uric acid is made in the liver and excreted by the kidneys. If the liver produces too much uric acid or the kidneys excrete too little, the patient will have too much uric acid in the blood. This condition is called hyperuricemia. Supersaturated uric acid in the urine (uricosuria) can crystallize to form kidney stones that may block the tubes that lead from the kidneys to the bladder (the ureters).

1. The first thing that most doctors agree on is the diet. High protein foods cause a build up of a chemical called purines. The purines raise your uric acid level and increases risk of another gout attack.

7. Herbs can also be instrumental in fighting gout. Some of the herbs that are frequently used are sarsaparilla, and celery seed which helps clear toxins from the body and reduces inflammation.

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Certain foods that are high in purine may increase the patient's levels of uric acid. These include kidneys, liver, sweetbreads, sardines, anchovies, and meat extracts.

Another suggested natural remedy that can reduce your gout attack is to eat a lot of cherries. There are a number of suggested amounts, but eating a large handful of fresh cherries or drinking cherry juice when you feel that a gout attack is imminent can help cut the severity of your attack in half and lessen your pain. Some suggest eating a half a pound of them a day and others recommend a pound or more. That's a lot of cherries to eat, and will be hard if you don't like them, but you can think of them as a natural way to fight your attack. You can try cherry juice as a substitute, but make sure it is 100% real cherry juice. Some people with bad attacks have eaten or drunk the equivalent of two pounds when they fear an attack is near. Just be aware that too much fruit can play havoc with your digestion system, especially if you're not used to the large quantities.

 
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There isn't space in this article to explain more about the difference between complex and refined carbohydrates. If you're not sure, the subject is easily researched on the Internet. For example, do an Internet search for "Glycemic Index," or "Glycemic Load."

2. The second way of combating gout symptoms is drinking water. If you will simply drink 8 ounces of water with each meal, and between each meal, the water will help to flush out a lot of the impurities.

Refined and simple carbohydrates are found in foods made from refined grains (for example refined flours which are the basis for pasta, breads, cakes, biscuits (cookies) pies, pastries); white rice; and most cereals. And notably from sugars with the exception of fruit sugar,(fructose) and galactose. Simple carbohydrates include corn and other syrups, table sugar and honey; candies (sweets); processed foods with added sugar; and some fruits and vegetables.

Preparation

The uric acid test requires either a blood or urine sample. For the blood sample, the patient should be fasting (nothing to eat or drink) for at least eight hours before the test. The urine test for uric acid requires a 24-hour urine collection. The urine test does not require the patient to fast or cut down on fluids. Some laboratories encourage patients to drink plenty of fluids during the collection period.

Precautions

Blood test

Patients scheduled for a blood test for uric acid should be checked for the following medications: loop diuretics (Diamox, Bumex, Edecrin, or Lasix); ethambutol (Myambutol); vincristine (Oncovin); pyrazinamide (Tebrazid); thiazide diuretics (Naturetin, Hydrex, Diuril, Esidrix, HydroDiuril, Aquatensen, Renese, Diurese); aspirin (low doses); acetaminophen (Tylenol); ascorbic acid (vitamin C preparations); levodopa (Larodopa); or phenacetin. These drugs can affect test results.

Anyone going on the Zone diet will have their personal daily carbohydrate, protein, and fat requirement. How to discover it is explained in Barry Sears' "Enter the Zone" book. The amount of protein you can eat determines the amounts of carbohydrates and unsaturated fats, in the 4:3:3 proportions, you can eat. Why the 4:3:3 rule is important is also explained in the book. If you know about soccer, you can think of the 4:3:3 rule as the commonly used soccer team formation. Or, another way of putting it, is to say that calories from protein are 0.75 (75%) of calories from carbohydrate and calories from fat are in the same proportion as calories from protein. Getting almost to 4:3:3 is allowed.

A cup of fresh parsley tea helps to lower excess uric acid. It also doubles as a diuretic which is useful for relieving water retention. Tea tree oil, dandelion, and nettle are also used on gout patients. You can soothe the foot joints by soaking in a cool foot tub with a few drops of rosemary oil.

3. The third thing that helps to control gout is losing weight if you are overweight. When you are overweight your body does not metabolize food as efficiently as it could at a desirable weight.

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The uric acid tests are used to evaluate the blood levels of uric acid for gout and to assess uric acid levels in the urine for kidney stone formation. The urine test is used most often to monitor patients already diagnosed with kidney stones, but it can also be used to detect disorders that affect the body's production of uric acid and to help measure the level of kidney functioning.

The best time to start fighting a gout attack is when you first notice the warning signs that one may be about to flare. You may not be able to put a stop to it completely, but there are some steps you can take to ease the pain and reduce the duration.

One natural remedy that many sufferers rely on when they feel a gout attack coming is to take celery seed as a supplement. This option should be discussed with your doctor, but taking the recommended amounts can help lessen the severity of your attack. Not only that, it can also help reduce the inflammation of the joints and can calm and soothe muscles that may cramp.

NB. The contents of this article contain medical information not medical advice. Please always discuss remedies with your doctor or other health care professional before implementing any treatment.

Decreased excretion of uric acid is seen in chronic kidney disease, low thyroid, toxemia of pregnancy, and alcoholism. Patients with gout excrete less than half the uric acid in their blood as other persons. Only 10-15% of the total cases of hyperuricemia, however, are caused by gout.

Abnormally low uric acid levels may indicate that the patient is taking allopurinol or probenecid for treatment of gout; may be pregnant; or suffers from Wilson's disease or Fanconi's syndrome.

Refined carbohydrate foods were swapped for complex carbohydrate foods. i.e. they ate complex carbohydrates, not refined carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates can be found in foods made from whole grains, (eg. whole grain flours and products made from them), and in many vegetables, low sugar fruits and beans.

Red wines such as port and Madeira contain the highest levels of purines. Eliminating alcohol ends gout attacks for many people who suffer from gout.

Key Terms

Fanconi's syndrome
A rare disorder caused by vitamin D deficiency or exposure to heavy metals.
Gout
A metabolic disorder characterized by sudden recurring attacks of arthritis caused by deposits of crystals that build up in the joints due to abnormally high uric acid blood levels. In gout, uric acid may be overproduced, underexcreted, or both.
Hyperuricemia
Excessively high levels of uric acid in the blood, often producing gout.
Purine
A white crystalline substance that is one of the building blocks of DNA. Uric acid is produced when purine is broken down in the body.
Uric acid
A compound resulting from the body's breakdown of purine. It is normally present in human urine only in small amounts.
Uricosuria
Increased levels of uric acid in the urine.
Wilson's disease
A rare hereditary disease marked by the buildup of copper in the liver and brain, causing loss of kidney function.

Further Reading

For Your Information

    Books

  • Laboratory Test Handbook, edited by David S. Jacobs. Cleveland, OH: Lexi-Comp Inc., 1996.
  • Mosby's Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference, edited by Kathleen Deska Pagana and Timothy James Pagana. St. Louis: Mosby-Year Book, Inc., 1998.
  • Springhouse Corporation. Handbook of Diagnostic Tests, edited by Matthew Cahill. Springhouse, PA: Springhouse Corporation, 1995.

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Normal results

Blood test

Reference values for blood uric acid vary from laboratory to laboratory but are generally found within the following range: Male: 2.1-8.5 mg/dL; female: 2.0-6.6 mg/dL. Values may be slightly higher in the elderly.

Along with those three things that may help you stop a gout attack, or at least lessen the duration of such an attack, you should also try to rest the joint and take it easy if you feel an attack coming. If possible, try and keep the affected area elevated and use heat and ice to help with the inflammation if needed. Stay off your feet if at all possible, and stick to low purine foods so an not to increase your uric acid levels further. If pain is utterly unbearable and nothing seems to help, call your doctor immediately for more suggestions.

In many cases it has completely stopped the excruciating painful gout attacks. Statistics indicate in 2006, that gout affected approximately 3.5 million people in the United States. Gout is a form of arthritis which is caused by uric acid deposits in the joints. A rise in the blood's uric acid level is called hyperuricaemia. It occurs predominantly in men over 30, and in post menopausal women as the estrogen level lowers. A salt called monosodium urate (from the uric acid) forms needle like crystals in the joints. These crystals cause inflammation and pain. Gout sufferers describe a flare-up as a piercing stabbing pain in the swollen joints.

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Abnormal results

The critical value for the blood test is a level of uric acid higher than 12 milligrams per deciliter (about 3.4 ounces).

4. The fourth way to lower gout symptoms is to cut out the alcohol. Alcoholic beverages increase uric acid in the body, and they also inhibit the excretion of uric acid.

By implementing these 7 easy ways to reduce gout pain, you should be well on the way to pain free joints.

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